OK, It Seems the Panda-Men Are Real

By James Fallows

Yesterday I mentioned what I thought was an amusing but crude hoax: a story out of Chengdu about panda-handlers who dressed up as pandas to avoid spooking little cubs. Eg:

PandaHunt.jpg

Turns out, it's real. I have received several confirmations, of which the most categorical is this:
>>I can promise you that the researchers really have Panda suits- I have seen them as we share space with these dedicated folks in Wolong.
 
Matthew Chapa
Panda Mountain
Ecotourism Director
www.pandamountain.org <<
I should have had more faith in the realm of the possible in China. Thanks to all for clarifications. And, here's a slide show of what Wolong looked like before the earthquake. Plus, some use of pandas as political artwork in the Beijing Metro, here.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/ok-it-seems-the-panda-men-are-real/68048/